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June 12, 2020


DENVER, CO– The House today passed legislation sponsored by Representative Bri Buentello to address the opioid crisis. SB20-007 passed the House 48-17, and SB20-028 received initial approval on second reading. The bills would enhance access to treatment for substance use disorders (SUD) and help more Coloradans through their SUD recovery.

“The opioid crisis didn’t go away when the pandemic hit, and it’s clear our communities still need help increasing access to treatment and helping Coloradans stay in recovery,” said Rep. Buentello, D-Pueblo. “These bills will help Coloradans get the care they need to overcome substance use disorders. I am grateful for the bipartisan work that went into crafting these bills and getting them across the finish line.”

SB20-007, which passed 48-17, requires insurance carriers to provide coverage for the treatment of a SUD in accordance with the American Society of Addiction Medicine or other evidence-based guidelines. It also encourages access to medical or substance use disorder treatment services, including recovery services, to people participating in prescribed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for a SUD and prohibits courts, probation or community corrections from prohibiting MAT as a condition of participation or placement. It also requires the Insurance Commissioner to ensure that insurance carriers’ formularies include medications for MAT and coverage for the opioid antagonist naloxone (Narcan).

SB20-028, which received preliminary approval from the House on second reading, furthers the work of the Opioid and Other Substance Abuse Disorder Interim Committee by convening a group of stakeholders to review progress on opioid legislation and recommend additional policies to address opioid use. It would also modify the determination of child abuse, neglect or dependency to ensure that a positive toxicology test cannot be the sole reason for deciding that a child born affected by alcohol or other substance exposure is abused or neglected, instead allowing families, moms and babies to bond and remain together if a pregnant or new mom is participating in prescribed medication assisted treatment and a newborn child’s welfare isn’t threatened by substance use, in accord with current best practice for maternal and child health.

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